Hundreds of people decked out in various shades of green — from kelly to midnight — lined up around Lincoln Financial Field Monday morning to get first dibs on the newly-issued kelly green jerseys.
The apparel, a few shades brighter than the ones the Eagles already wear, will be worn twice this season and has come to represent tenacity — and winning — for those who grew up hearing tales of NFL championships and of legends like Randall Cunningham and Reggie White.
The throwback jerseys retail for $130 and $175, with the more expensive being Gameday Special versions only available with Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, or Jason Kelce’s names. Other than the Linc, jerseys are also on sale at the Cherry Hill and Lancaster pro shop locations.
The line at Linc wrapped from the Pro Shop doors out into the middle of Lot K. Fans began waiting as early as 3 a.m. and packed standard tailgate fare: coffee, sandwiches, Gatorade — and yes — alcohol.
“I’m going to need, like, five showers after this,” said Kim Spina, 51, of South Philly who was first in line alongside her son Michael, a 17-year-old self-proclaimed “Birds diehard.”
Michael said the pair didn’t sleep at all before arriving at 3:15 a.m. They feasted on the breakfast of champions (crackers and some electrolyte drinks) before scoring two Hurts and Brown kelly greens.
To Michael, the wait was worth it.
“These jerseys, they’re the best throwbacks in all of sports,” he said.
At the front of the line, it’s all business and Jell-O shots
Those staked out at the front of the line came prepared.
Bobby Volio, 32, who has been waiting with his girlfriend Francis Barone since 4:30 a.m., said walking from their home near the stadium felt like “a regular day in Wildwood.” They towed Tommy Bahama chairs and a cooler filled with what they stressed were non-alcoholic beverages.
But for Allison Cawley, 37, of Havertown, the morning called for Jell-O shots, which she made on Friday in preparation for the wait.
”I make them for every game, so I obviously had to bring shots today,” Cawley said. Her recipe calls for Malibu rum, and key lime Jell-O. That, she said, is key for the bright green color.
Cawley came with Kelly Christ, 34, of West Chester. They met through X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) and became fast friends.
”We grew up wearing these jerseys in the ‘80s and ‘90s. They bring us back,” said Christ.
‘You’re going to be so sick of kelly green by the time we’re done’
When the holy Pro Shop doors opened at 9 a.m. on the dot Monday morning, fans let out a polite “Go Birds” before descending on the kelly green section of the store.
Though proud of the controlled chaos, Eagles Director of Merchandise Emily McNichol told reporters that shoppers should abandon their scarcity mindsets. McNichol said the store had scheduled restocks throughout the week and the remainder of the season. Kelly green jerseys for newer roster members are on deck, she said, as are T-shirts and hats.
“You’re going to be so sick of kelly green by the time we’re done,” McNickel said.
That’s hard to imagine for Anre Caldwell, 23, who was among the first dozen people to purchase the kelly green jerseys. The Southwest Philly native purchased three Jalen Hurts and Brian Dawkins to jerseys for family members, including his mom, who waited with him.
“We got some of the first jerseys to be sold in the world,” Caldwell said. “This is special.”
Kelly green for nostalgia, midnight green for battle
Fans already have theories around how to best deploy the kelly green jerseys, which the Eagles will wear while hosting the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills this season.
Caldwell’s philosophy is simple: “It’s look good, play good,” he said, a mentality he believes will clinch the Eagles a Super Bowl win.
Volio agrees: “A lot of great players used to wear these jerseys … they might help us overturn our sad fortune against the Chiefs.”
But according to at least one of the great players who did wear those jerseys, the color doesn’t really matter.
“I was just happy to be able to put one on,” NFL Hall-of-Famer and former Eagle Harold Carmichael told the Inquirer over the weekend. “Whatever color it was, I had to wear it.”
» READ MORE: Eagles greats weigh in on the return of kelly green